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Denton City Council passes reproductive decisions resolution following rally

Denton City Council passes reproductive decisions resolution following rally

Denton City Council passes reproductive decisions resolution following rally
June 29
20:49 2022

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Denton City Council building on Tuesday at a rally in support of council member Alison Maguire’s Reproductive Decisions resolution.

The resolution, which passed in a 4-3 vote, aims to deprioritize the “use of city resources for investigation or enforcement of laws related to reproductive healthcare.”

The resolution was originally brought before the council during a work session on June 7 by Maguire.

Texas College Democrats and UNT College Democrats were two of the co-sponsors of the rally, attendees of which held signs to show support for the resolution as well as to protest the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bella Armenta, an international studies and political science senior who is also the president of Texas College Democrats and UNT College Democrats, said the resolution will help set the agenda for the Denton Police Department.

“It’ll put criminalizing or ticketing or arresting anyone for seeking an abortion at the lowest priorities in the cop’s agenda,” Armenta said.

Maguire spoke at the rally before the meeting about the purpose and limitations of the resolution.

“The resolution I’ve proposed […] affirms the position of the city council of Denton that abortion is a fundamental right and that our police department’s limited funds and staff time should not be used to investigate, store or report information related to private medical decisions,” Maguire said.

The resolution will not decriminalize abortion in Denton as the Denton Police Department shares jurisdiction with the UNT Police Department, the Denton County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers and “those agencies may take a harder stance on enforcement of laws that infringe on our rights of bodily autonomy” Maguire said.

Event co-organizer and university alumnus Max Davis said that before the overturning of Roe v. Wade the event on Facebook had 20 or 30 people interested but after the announcement from the Supreme Court the number quickly grew.

Davis said he was happy to see such a large turnout at a historic moment in Denton’s history.

“This would be the first city in Texas to pass a proposal to fight back against the trigger laws that are going into act now that Roe is overturned.”

The resolution is based on one that was proposed in Austin that will be voted on in July.

Representatives from Texas Equal Access Fund and Outreach Denton talked about how abortion bans impact marginalized communities and how rally attendees can help support the organization while other speakers led chants and shared personal stories.

Sharon Barnhill (left) and Linda Wallace pose with their sashes on June 28, 2022. John Anderson

Two rally attendees wore “women’s rights are human rights” sashes that they made for a 2016 march in Austin.

“We are sad that we’ve had to get them back out of the closet today,” Denton resident and UNT alumna Sharon Barnhill said.

The two women said they had to bring out the sashes several times since 2016 and that they seemed approximate today.

“We would like for the city council to hear us about not spending our tax dollars pursuing women and their physicians who are accessing healthcare,” Barnhill said. “We felt like it was necessary to come out and make sure they hear our voices because we don’t always feel like they do.”

After the rally officially ended participants marched to the Denton Square and around the Denton County Courthouse on the Square Museum while chanting their support for abortions and disapproval of Gov. Greg Abbott.

As the crowd marched by, people inside of restaurants and apartment buildings came outside to chant and show support for the rally.

Council members Alison Maguire, Vicki Byrd, Brandon Chase McGee and Mayor Pro Tem Brian Beck voted for the resolution while council members Chris Watts, Jesse Davis and Mayor Gerard Hudspeth voted against it.

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Former Denton City Council member Deb Armintor holds up documents for rally attendees to sign in order to be allowed to speak during the city council meeting on June 28, 2022. John Anderson

Featured Image: Council member Alison Maguire speaks to the crows at the abortion rights rally on June 28, 2022. Photo by John Anderson

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John Anderson

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